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New head Andy Booth on his first week at Sheppey's 'troubled' Oasis Academy


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The new executive principal of Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey has already stamped his mark on the school.

As pupils returned for the new term after the summer holidays he was at the gates of the Minster campus in Minster Road checking uniforms.

Minster campus of the Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey
Minster campus of the Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey

He said: "Learning starts at the school gate. The checks are made there so pupils get into lessons ready to learn. I have high expectations for our pupils and it begins with getting the basics right."

He has also clamped down on mobile phones. He said: "We have always banned them in school. There is no need for them. If parents need to contact their children they can phone the office and we can get a message to them."

Instead of simply handing back confiscated phones to pupils at the end of the day, parents must now go to school to collect them.

Mr Booth, 55, admitted: "Some have been unhappy. A lot of students think I have brought in a lot of new rules but there are no new rules. They have always been here. But I am holding people to account, students, staff and parents. For example, our uniform is blazer and tie. That's how it is. It's very clear."

He seems quite strict, especially with a whistle hanging round his neck.

Andy Booth has taken over from Tina Lee as the new head of Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey
Andy Booth has taken over from Tina Lee as the new head of Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey

"Strict has connotations," he said. "I would say I am an understanding head with high expectations."

He joined the school as executive principal at the end of June from Oasis Academy Shirley Park near Croydon which is where he lives. Tina Lee quit as principal during the summer break and had commuted every day from Brighton so he is now doing her job as well.

Is he up to the daily commute? "I'm doing it, so it's doable," he said.

But how long will he stay? "I'll be here as long as Oasis needs me to be here," he said. "I won't commit to a time because I've done that before. The one thing I am is honest.

"I want to stay as long as I can but it would be wrong of me to say I will be here for eight or nine years. There are lots of reasons people leave. There are promotions, other job opportunities and family commitments. Life comes and goes."

Quit: Tina Lee, previous principal of the Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey
Quit: Tina Lee, previous principal of the Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey

Within days of his new appointment, Kent County Council announced it had finally succumbed to pressure from Islanders and agreed that Sheppey deserves a second, independent secondary school to give parents a choice of where to send their children.

The academy has been labelled "requires improvement" by education regulator Ofsted inspectors on all four of their previous visits.

The school has been asked for a comment about KCC's decision.

Read more: All the latest news from Sheppey

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